LC

Paper

No.

CB(2)288/09-10(02)

Bills Committee on Minimum Wage Bill Administration’s Response to Hon LEE Cheuk-yan’s List of Questions

Introduction Further to our earlier paper submitted to the Bills Committee (LC Paper No. CB(2)212/09-10(01)), the ensuing paragraphs deal with the rest of the questions.

Application of the Ordinance: meaning of “employee” Question 6 2. Regarding the case of POON Chau-nam (Appellant) v YIM Siu-cheung trading as Yat Cheung Airconditioning & Electric Co (Respondent) (FACV No. 14 of 2006 (Civil)), it is an appeal case from the District Court and the Court of Appeal. The appellant worker suffered from personal injury in a work-related accident at a building. He was welding a part in an air-conditioner when the welding rod suddenly shattered and a fragment struck his left eye. As a result of the accident, he sustained a 45% loss of earning capacity. The issue to be adjudged was whether the appellant worker was an employee of the respondent company at the time of the accident. 3. The Court of Final Appeal (CFA) considered that there was no single test that would conclusively point to the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor in all cases. The modern approach is to examine all the features of their relationship against the background of the indicia developed with a view to deciding whether, as a matter of overall impression, the relationship is one of employment. For the present case, the CFA found these facts: (a) the air-conditioning business belonged to the respondent; (b) the appellant’s venture into an air-conditioning business on his own account had failed some years previously; (c) the respondent decided which, if any, jobs should be assigned to the appellant and paid him to do them at the agreed daily rate, plus any overtime;

1

(d) all the profits and losses of the business were for the respondent’s account; (e) the appellant bore no financial risks and reaped no financial rewards beyond his daily-rated remuneration; (f) the respondent managed the business and hired several other workers, some of whom would sometimes work alongside the appellant on a job; (g) the appellant personally did the work assigned to him. He did not hire anyone to help; (h) travel expenses incurred in the course of the work were borne by the respondent; (i) whenever items had to be purchased by the appellant for work purposes, he was reimbursed by the respondent; (j) the appellant was a skilled air-conditioning worker and, like the others who were undoubtedly the respondent’s employees, did not require supervision or control over the manner of carrying out the work; and (k) while the other indicia all point clearly to an employer-employee relationship entered into for each specific engagement, the main difference between the appellant and the other workers was that his employment was of a casual nature whereas theirs was permanent and paid on a monthly basis. 4. The CFA was of the view that the objective facts strongly supported the conclusion that the appellant was an employee at the time of the accident and the fact that he labelled himself a self-employed person for Mandatory Provident Fund purposes would not change the picture concerning the respondent’s liability under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 282) (ECO).

Questions 7 and 10 5. The Administration has submitted a paper to the Legislative Council Panel on Manpower on the subject of “Employees vis-à-vis Selfemployed Persons”, which is attached at Annex A for reference. The paper sets out the rights and benefits of employees under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) (EO) and the ECO, how the rights and obligations of employees and self-employed persons are determined, and the measures

2

adopted by the Labour Department (LD) in tackling false selfemployment. 6. We have no information on the number of workers claiming to be providing cleaning or guarding services in self-employment in single block buildings. As explained in the Administration’s paper above, there is no single conclusive test to distinguish an “employee” from a “selfemployed person”, and all relevant factors of the case should be taken into account in differentiating these two identities. In case of unresolved dispute, it should be subject to the court’s determination as to whether a worker has been engaged as an employee and, if so, the identity of the employer. Depending on the facts of individual cases, for a building which is managed neither by a management company nor an owners’ corporation, there may be situations where the owners and/or occupants of the flats in the building would be ruled by the court as the employer of the concerned worker.

Question 8 7. The Social Welfare Department (SWD) provides vocational rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities (PWD) who are not ready for open market so as to equip them with job skills that meet market requirements and assist them in securing suitable employment commensurate with their abilities. To meet the various needs of PWD, SWD invites non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to operate different vocational rehabilitation services, including sheltered workshops, supported employment, integrated vocational rehabilitation services centre, integrated vocational training centre, On the Job Training Programme for People with Disabilities and Sunnyway - On the Job Training Programme for Young People with Disabilities. All these vocational rehabilitation services are training-oriented. The NGO operators act as service providers and are required to formulate training plan for each individual participant. Through regular case review on the progress of performance and skill acquisition, the NGO operators will revise the training plan so as to best meet the social rehabilitation needs of individual participants. 8. Corresponding to the service delivery mode of the vocational rehabilitation services as stated above, participants are service users who receive training from the NGO operators for enhancement of their personal capabilities.

3

9. To sum up, vocational rehabilitation services are welfare services funded by SWD’s recurrent subvention allocation to NGO operators and the relationship between the NGO operators of vocational rehabilitation services and the participants is one of service providers and service users.

Question 9 10. Our paper on the Administration’s Response to Issues Raised at the Bills Committee Meeting Held on 5 November 2009 would provide information in respect of Question 9.

Application of the Ordinance: live-in domestic workers Question 11 11. We propose to exclude all live-in domestic workers from the coverage of the Minimum Wage Bill (the Bill), regardless of their sex or race. According to legal advice, the proposed exclusion is legally in order as there are justifiable differences, mainly in working patterns and provision of in-kind benefits arising from dwelling in the households of their employers, between live-in domestic workers and other employees who would be covered by the Bill. Question 12 12. The Government attaches great importance to protecting the rights and benefits of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs). To this end, since the early 1970s, the Government has prescribed the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) and a standard employment contract (“Employment Contract (For a Domestic Helper recruited from abroad)”) especially for FDHs. The said contract sets out key employment terms for hiring FDHs in Hong Kong, including wages not lower than the prevailing MAW, free passage from and to the FDH’s place of origin, free accommodation and free food (or food allowance), free medical treatment, etc. These benefits are not usually available to local workers. To prevent exploitation of FDHs, the standard employment contract is mandatory in nature, and employers and their FDHs are not allowed to agree on any contractual terms that fall short of the requirements set out therein and the statutory entitlements under labour legislation such as the

4

000 and three years’ imprisonment. Question 13 16.000 and imprisonment for 14 years. As for other relevant court judgments for reference as requested in the question. Any employer convicted of the offence of conspiracy to defraud is liable to imprisonment for 14 years. Notwithstanding that an FDH has knowingly and voluntarily entered into another contract of employment with the employer to accept a lower wage. the Administration takes into account the prevailing general economic condition and employment situation.000 and imprisonment for two years. 14. there were 92 convicted summonses against FDH employers for wage offences. One of the employers received a three-month jail term. as reflected through economic indicators which include the 5 . Approval for the importation of FDHs is based on facts submitted to the Director of Immigration. LD would take prosecution action. and (b) on summary conviction. From January to October 2009. to a maximum fine of $150. In accordance with the long-established mechanism in reviewing the MAW and deciding whether the level is to be adjusted. It is also specified in the standard employment contract that any variation to the terms of the contract shall be void unless made with the prior consent of the Commissioner for Labour. upon conviction under the EO. to a maximum fine of $100. 15. Where there is sufficient evidence that employers have committed wage offences by paying FDHs at a monthly rate lower than the MAW. 13. an increase of 124% over the same period in 2008. to a maximum fine of $350. The employer would also be committing serious offences of making false representation to an Immigration Officer and conspiracy to defraud. the latter is still liable. whereby the employer has agreed to pay not less than the MAW. An employer cannot agree with an FDH to pay a lower level of wage than the MAW. the helper is still entitled to be paid at a wage rate as stipulated in the standard employment contract. we have consulted the Department of Justice and are not aware of them. Any employer who is guilty of making false representation to an Immigration Officer is liable: (a) on conviction on indictment.EO. Even if an FDH has knowingly and voluntarily entered into another contract of employment with the employer to accept a lower wage. The Administration regularly reviews the MAW.

The outcome of the review will be made public. price change and labour market situation.relevant income movement. The list of the MAW levels and the press releases in the past 10 years (1999 to 2009) are at Annex B. Labour and Welfare Bureau/Labour Department November 2009 6 . 17.

The ECO is applicable to all employees employed under a contract of service or apprenticeship. The EO and the ECO are applicable only to employees both in terms of the rights conferred and the obligations imposed on them. For a person who is self-employed or who is an independent contractor. how the rights and obligations of employees and self-employed persons are determined. protection against anti-union discrimination. holidays with pay.Annex A LC Paper No. Such benefits include wage protection. An overview of the rights and benefits of employees under the EO and the ECO 2. etc. employment protection. It covers a comprehensive range of employment protection for every employee engaged under a contract of employment. maternity protection. 4. 3. 282) (ECO). sickness allowance. long service payment. 57) (EO) and the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (Cap. It operates on the basis of individual employer liability whereby an employer is liable to pay compensation to his employees who are injured by accidents or suffer from specified occupational diseases that arise out of and in the course of their employment. his interests and obligations are defined by the terms of the service contracts or agreements drawn up with the other party in consideration of the services to be performed. rest days. . CB(2)76/09-10(3) For information on 19 November 2009 Legislative Council Panel on Manpower Employees vis-à-vis Self-employed Persons Purpose This paper briefs Members on the rights and benefits of employees under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. and the measures adopted by the Labour Department (LD) in tackling false self-employment. The EO is the main piece of legislation governing conditions of employment in Hong Kong. severance payment. paid annual leave.

some people may prefer working on their own account for greater autonomy instead of being bound by a monotonous work pattern or fixed working hours. hand-knitters) and traders (e. Recently. antiques dealers) are the more traditional forms of self-employment.g.9% of the total employed population in Hong Kong). They pointed out that some job seekers. eager to look for employment. Freelance professionals (e. event photographers). self-employment may also represent a viable alternative to unemployment before they settle down in gainful employment. 7.g. craftworkers (e. Genuine self-employment can be a driving force for economic development and can preserve and create job opportunities.g. As an economic reality and occupational necessity. may prefer or are obliged to take up freelance jobs at home or jobs that are paid on completion of projects or assignments. both of which fall outside the remit of an employment relationship. a slight drop when compared with 253 900 persons (7.- 2 - Self-employment as an alternative form of participation in the labour market 5. in Q2 2009 there were around 241 600 self-employed persons (representing about 6. Apart from entering into a contract of employment. particularly in a web-based environment. For some. 6. though in certain sectors such as construction. Protection for employees in false self-employment 8. owing to family. some Legislative Council Members and trade unionists have expressed grave concerns over the growing number of employees being labelled by their employers as “self-employed” despite the fact that they have all the characteristics of an employee. According to the General Household Survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department. were ignorant of their status being . sub-contracting and genuine self-employment exist in various sectors of the economy.2% of total) in Q2 2008. there may be various ways in which a person can actively participate in the labour market. With the advancement of information and communication technologies. logistics and insurance this form of service provision may be more prevalent in respect of certain work processes. In an era of technological advancement and economic diversification. health or a host of other personal reasons. while others may opt to develop their own business or prefer to provide services to different clients for the purpose of maximising profits. There are also those who. Self-employment forms an important part of economic activities in many countries around the world. self-employed workers have also emerged in other occupations such as graphic design. programming and on-line trading.

before the commencement of employment. This is of utmost importance as the employer will have to pay back statutory benefits retroactively to employees who are falsely labelled as “self-employed”. but would apply a number of tests to examine whether a worker is an employee or a self-employed person. In such cases. it is not what the parties to an engagement call their relationship. We have also emphasised that an employer should carefully assess the risks involved if he enters into a contract to engage someone as a contractor or self-employed person. Even if an employer has engaged a person as a self-employed person. exist is often determined after looking at all relevant facts. He may also make a claim for termination compensation against his employer on the ground of constructive dismissal under common law. Whether an employer-employee relationship does. The employer may also have to bear the legal consequences for having committed an offence under the EO or the ECO. as set out in paragraph 15 below.- 3 - labelled as “self-employed”. there were also claims that an employer had unilaterally changed the status of his employee to a contractor or self-employed person. In previous rulings on cases involving claims under the EO and the ECO. Besides. as the case may be. the Court has not simply looked at the labelling of a person to determine the employment relationship. LD has in its various publicity activities and service delivery promoted an important message that the contracting parties should understand clearly their mode of cooperation according to their intention and clarify whether the person concerned is engaged as an employee or a contractor/self-employed person before entering into a contract. that matters. the employee may make a written request to the employer for written information on conditions of employment in accordance with the EO. the employee may lodge a claim for remedies against his employer on the ground of unreasonable variation of the terms of the employment contract under the EO. he still has to fulfil his obligations under the law where the relationship between the parties is in essence one of employer-employee. . If necessary. To avoid misunderstanding/dispute and safeguard mutual rights/ benefits. an employer is not allowed to unilaterally change the status of his employee to a contractor or self-employed person. 12. 9. As a matter of fact. the employer is still required to fulfil his responsibilities under the relevant legislation even though his worker is called or described as a contractor or self-employed person in the contract. At times. 11. 10. but what it is in substance. or does not. If in essence there exists an employer-employee relationship.

If an employee intends to change his status to a contractor or self-employed person. employees are protected by the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Ordinance (Cap. it is advisable for a self-employed person to make his own insurance arrangements like taking out personal accident insurance policy. no exhaustive list has been compiled and perhaps no exhaustive list can be compiled of the considerations which are relevant in determining whether a worker is an employee or a sub-contractor. to protect himself against injuries sustained at work. Moreover. a series of tests has been developed through case law to enable the Court to determine whether a worker has been engaged as a self-employed person/ contractor or as an employee. the parties’ own view of their relationship. While all relevant factors of the case should be taken into account in differentiating these two identities. ex-gratia payment from the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund will be effected in accordance with the PWIO. There is no single conclusive test to distinguish an “employee” from a “self-employed person”/ “contractor”. including the employment rights and benefits that he may lose in such a change. nor can strict rules be laid down as to the relative weight which the various considerations should carry in particular cases. Where an employer-employee relationship does exist.1 Over the years. 14. he must carefully weigh the pros and cons involved. whether the person alleged to be self-employed 1 As stated by Cook J in Market Investigations v Minister of Social Security [1969] 2 QB 173 and applied in Lee Ting-sang v Chung Chi-keung [1990] ICR 409 Privy Council. there is no hard and fast rule as to how important a particular factor should be. the traditional structure of the trade or profession concerned and the arrangements within it. Differentiating between employees and self-employed persons 15. the degree of control exercised by the party alleged to be the employer over the work of the person alleged to be self-employed. In cases of winding-up/bankruptcy. Such tests include. but are not limited to: whether there is any mutual obligation between the two parties to provide and accept work. All relevant factors are taken into account when investigating the essence of the relationship. . 380) (PWIO).- 4 - 13. A flexible approach is adopted in considering the applications from so-called “self-employed” persons who may not necessarily be self-employed in every sense of the word.

• provides equipment and machinery necessary for the job. The purpose of the EO and the ECO is to protect employees. the Court of Hong Kong has in many cases come to the conclusion that the person who was labelled or treated as a self-employed or independent contractor by his employer was an employee. • has undertaken any entrepreneurial activities. On the basis of the tests applied. • controls his own working hours in fulfilling the job obligations. If the scope of these ordinances were extended to cover all self-employed persons. The amendment would inevitably bring about serious economic and financial implications if every person or company who hires the service of another person were required to confer on him the . These cases have vindicated that the law is concerned with the facts. how he does it. when and where he does it and whether he does it himself. • is free to hire other people. and the nature and extent of the risk. and • is properly regarded as part of the organisation of the party alleged to be the employer. • has invested any capital to the business for the purpose of generating revenue and profit. • has control over the job he does. on terms of his own choice. • is exposed to financial risk by having to bear the cost of faulty or substandard work carried out under the contract. and will ignore any mechanism an employer might use to conceal the true employment status of an employee. it would be a major departure from the legislative intent of protecting employees only and would take on a new dimension in protecting all persons who are engaged under a contract for service. • provides the required material to complete the job. to do the work that he has agreed to undertake. other than the small tools of the trade.- 5 - • is carrying on business on his own account or carrying on the business of the other party to the contract. Problems of amending the EO and the ECO to cover people on self-employment and/or employees falsely labelled as “self-employed” 16.

LD adopts a three-pronged approach to tackling the problem. The object of the exercise is to paint a picture from the accumulation of detail. 17. by viewing it from a distance and by making an informed. Apart from being uploaded to LD’s homepage for easy public access. and highlight the factors or criteria commonly adopted by the Court in determining the employment status of workers by citing relevant court cases. (I) Strengthening promotion and publicity work in enhancing public awareness 19. at Appendices I and II. Not all details are of equal weight or importance in any given situation. an exhaustive list of criteria to define those on false self-employment may be counterproductive as unscrupulous employers may translate them into convenient clues to circumvent the law. considered. qualitative appreciation of the whole. the leaflets have 2 It was stated by Mummery J in Hall v Lorimer as quoted in Poon Chau-nam v Yim Siu Cheung trading as Yat Cheung Airconditioning & Electric Co. This is not a mechanical exercise of running through items on a checklist to see whether they are present in. The details may also vary in importance from one situation to another. 14 of 2006] that – “In order to decide whether a person carries on business on his own account it is necessary to consider many different aspects of that person’s work activity. An authoritative and legally-prescribed list of indicia to define people on genuine employment or false self-employment may fail to account for possible specific features in individual occupational groups and sectors. in addition. The leaflets. set out the differences in the rights and benefits between the two under the EO and the ECO respectively with important points to note for employers and employees. inadvertently hinder the development of entrepreneurship. Despite its good intention. as set out below. 2 This may.” . a given situation. There is also the practical problem of law enforcement given the diverse nature of service contracts.- 6 - rights and benefits under the EO and take out compulsory accident insurance cover under the ECO. [FACV No. There has also been suggestion that the law should be amended to clearly distinguish an employee from those self-employed. or absent from. Three-pronged approach adopted by LD to tackle false self-employment 18. The overall effect can only be appreciated by standing back from the detailed picture which has been painted. In response to the concerns of the public over the alleged proliferation of false self-employment. innovation and contractual freedom. which is not necessarily the same as the sum total of the individual details. It is a matter of evaluation of the overall effect of the detail. particularly if the service contracts are one-off or very short-term in nature. LD has published leaflets to enhance the understanding of the public on how to distinguish an employee from a contractor or self-employed person.

This topic and related court cases have also been discussed and shared with human resources practitioners regularly at meetings of the 18 Human Resources Managers Clubs and at talks on EO delivered by staff of LD to forestall any misunderstanding and possible disputes. and forge closer collaboration with trade unions and employer associations of relevant trades in promoting the awareness of the relevant parties of the distinction between an employee and a self-employed person/contractor. LD officers will explain to them the rights and benefits enjoyed by employees vis-à-vis the self-employed. 20. feature articles have been published in newspapers and the relevant messages highlighted on panels for display in territory-wide roving exhibitions on the EO to enhance public understanding on this subject. LD will provide conciliation service to help . highlighting the message that employment rights and protection would not be forfeited even though a worker is called or labelled as a contractor or self-employed person in a contract if in essence there exists an employer-employee relationship.- 7 - been widely distributed through different channels. Specifically. LD will: • produce specially designed posters to drive home the message to employers and employees of the importance of clarifying the type of engagement before entering into a contract. LD always advises employees to be vigilant and clarify their employment status before entering into contract. Furthermore. LD will step up its promotional efforts targeting in particular employers of small and medium enterprises to enhance their awareness of the possible legal consequences of false self-employment. In addition to the existing channels and activities to promote public awareness of the subject. If two parties dispute the employer-employee relationship and thus entitlements of the person concerned under the EO. • • (II) Providing a more user-friendly consultation and conciliation service to employees in false self-employment in case of disputes 21. An information kit has been produced to help enquirers differentiate employees from self-employed persons. They are welcome to approach its Labour Relations Offices for advice in case of doubt. display the poster at targeted locations and channels with a view to reaching out to those whose occupations are commonly considered to be self-employed.

LD has been sparing no effort in safeguarding the statutory rights and benefits of employees through rigorous enforcement of the law. If a claimant complains that an employer has committed offences by failing to pay wages or statutory benefits under the EO. having regard to the facts of the case and the factors commonly adopted by the Court in determining the employment status of workers and the provisions of the ECO. If the dispute remains unresolved in spite of our assistance. Labour inspectors conduct active inspections to workplaces to check employers’ compliance with the law and to educate employees on the protection accorded to them under labour laws. Should the dispute remain unresolved after conciliation. Where there is sufficient evidence that the claimant should be regarded as an employee and his employer has breached the EO. (III) Stepping up enforcement action to safeguard employees’ statutory rights 23. rather than just focusing on the “form” of relationship. where appropriate. 22. 24. We encourage employees who suspect that they are deprived of statutory rights and benefits to come forward to lodge complaints and to provide us with the details of their employment terms for our investigation. Employees may rest assured that provision of information to enable LD to conduct surprise inspections will not jeopardise their employment opportunity as LD is obliged under the law to observe strict confidentiality of the identity of those who provide intelligence to facilitate enforcement. the case shall be adjudicated by the Court and we would refer the employee to the Legal Aid Department for assistance. and the latter defends that the complainant is a self-employed person rather than its/his employee. it would be referred to the Labour Tribunal or the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board for adjudication. LD will take out prosecution against the latter. .- 8 - resolve such disputes in the light of previous court rulings. Where there is a dispute on whether there exists an employer-employee relationship in an employees’ compensation case. LD will provide assistance and advice. A Complaint Hotline (2815 2200) is in place to facilitate the reporting of such cases. when detected. LD would conduct investigation by examining the “substance” of relationship between both parties. Suspected breaches. will be thoroughly investigated and prosecution will be instituted against the offending employers wherever there is sufficient evidence.

Labour and Welfare Bureau Labour Department November 2009 . the present general provisions in the EO and ECO should. including encouragement of those who may feel aggrieved by suspected false self-employment to report to LD. they agreed with LD and the employer members that. be a more preferred approach given its catch-all capacity. The Labour Advisory Board was consulted on the subject on 4 November 2009. Employee members indicated that while they would not rule out the option of pursuing legislative change in the future. Way Forward 26. the Board asked LD to step up promotional efforts with a view to encouraging employees to provide LD with intelligence to facilitate enforcement (paragraph 23). on balance. Both the employer and employee members shared LD’s views regarding the problems of amending the EO and the ECO to cover people on self-employment and/or employees falsely labelled as “self-employed” (regarding paragraphs 16 and 17 above). False self-employment should be discouraged as it would detract from employees’ rights and benefits as well as resulting in legal breaches on the part of the employers. Employers must be made aware that false self-employment is costly and counterproductive (paragraphs 11 and 12). Genuine self-employment contributes to economic development and allows individuals greater flexibility in procuring and rendering services taking into account their particular circumstances. Irrespective of how the law is crafted.- 9 - Consultation with the Labour Advisory Board 25. LD has also undertaken to keep relevant statistics on cases relating to claims of false self-employment to facilitate better understanding of the problem. At the request of members. Attempts to set out categorically in the law what constitutes self-employment may be counterproductive since it would provide inadvertently guidance for those who intend to exploit. Specifically. Despite their apparent imprecision. They also asked LD to launch publicity drives targeting SMEs especially those in sectors where false self-employment was a more common practice. the three-pronged approach as proposed by LD would be a more pragmatic and fruitful way forward. as well as rigorous enforcement. in the present circumstances. the key to tackling the issue is education and promotion.

Appendix I .

.

.

.

.

.

Appendix II .

.

.

.

670 $3.400 $3.270 $3.670 $3.Annex B Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Minimum Allowable Wage $3.270 $3.670 $3.670 $3.320 $3.580 7 .580 $3.480 $3.

to a fine of HK$ 200. Contracts which have been signed before February 3 will not be affected by the change in minimum allowable wage.860 a month.Minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers *************************************************** The Government announced today (Tuesday) that the minimum allowable wage (MAW) for employment contracts of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong to be signed on or after February 3. on conviction. 1999 will be set at $3." the spokesman stressed." said a Government spokesman. "Any employer who pays less than the stated wage in the effective contract commits an offence under the Employment Ordinance and the employer is liable. Employers under contracts signed before February 3 should continue to pay the stated wage until their expiry. "Taking account of these factors.670 a month. the new MAW has been arrived at after taking into account changes to wages and earnings of local workers and the economic conditions of Hong Kong since the last review. . there were about 180.2 per cent in the third quarter of 1998 over the same period in 1997. FDHs who have been underpaid by their employers should make a complaint to the Labour Department." the spokesman said. The new MAW will be applicable to any contract to be signed on or after February 3. the median household income fell by 5. "Employers are free to pay their FDHs a salary in excess of the minimum allowable wage in recognition of their loyalty. and the nominal wage index of local service workers showed no increase in the third quarter of 1998 over the same period a year ago. "The economy in Hong Kong is going through a difficult period of adjustment with a high rate of unemployment. 1998. our per capita GDP is forecast to have dropped by about seven per cent in 1998." As at December 31.000 FDHs working in Hong Kong. This is $190 or five per cent less than the existing minimum allowable wage of $3. "As in our previous reviews. The situation is unlikely to improve in the near future. For example. long service and experience. the Government has decided that the minimum allowable wage for FDHs should be adjusted downwards by about five per cent.000 and one year's imprisonment.

1999 NNNN . February 2.For enquiries concerning submission of the employment contract in connection with entry visa or extension of stay applications for FDHs. employers can contact the Immigration Department on telephone number 2824 6111. End/Tuesday.

the Hong Kong economy is still going through a period of adjustment. the spokesman added. At the same time. to a fine of HK$200.Foreign domestic helpers' minimum wage remains unchanged ******************************************************** A Government spokesman announced today (Monday) that the minimum allowable wage for new employment contracts for foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong would remain unchanged at HK$3.670 a month. End/Monday. the Government has arrived at the level of the minimum allowable wage after taking into account changes to wages and earnings of local workers and the economic conditions of Hong Kong since the last review. January 31. He said: "As in all previous reviews. 2000 NNNN .000 and one year's imprisonment". "Taking these factors into account. the Government has decided that the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers should remain unchanged until the next annual review in 2001. on conviction. "Local wages have remained fairly stable. "Any employer who pays less than the stated minimum allowable wage in the existing contract commits an offence under the Employment Ordinance and the employer is liable.

employers are free to pay in excess of the minimum allowable wage should they wish to recognise and reward the loyalty. "Local wages have remained fairly stable. January 31. despite strong recovery in the Hong Kong economy beginning from the fourth quarter of 1999. to a fine of HK$200. 2001 NNNN .000 and one year's imprisonment. and ensures that foreign domestic helpers are not exploited on the other. The spokesman said." Any employer who pays less than the stated minimum allowable wage in the existing employment contract commits an offence under the Employment Ordinance and the employer is liable. The minimum allowable wage is set to protect local employees against competition from cheap labour on the one hand. Nevertheless.670. the Government has concluded that the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers should remain at $3.Minimum wage for foreign domestic helpers remains unchanged ************************************************************ A Government spokesman announced today (January 31) that the minimum allowable wage for new employment contracts for foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong would remain unchanged at HK$3. and the economic conditions in Hong Kong since the last review. End/Wednesday. "After carefully studying changes to the wage and earnings of local workers in comparable sectors. long service and experience of their foreign domestic helpers.670 per month. on conviction.

on conviction. employers are free to pay in excess of the minimum allowable wage should they wish to recognise and reward the loyalty. "In view of the uncertainty surrounding the local economic and employment situation. we shall closely monitor the economic and employment situation and assess whether a further review will be required when up-to-date data. Any employer who pays less than the stated minimum allowable wage in the existing contract commits an offence under the Employment Ordinance and the employer is liable. are available. January 31. The minimum allowable wage is set to protect local employees against competition from foreign labour on the one hand. Nevertheless. long service or experience of their foreign domestic helpers. End/Thursday. and to ensure that foreign domestic helpers are not exploited on the other. 2002 NNNN .000 and one year's imprisonment. at $3. which reflect more recent economic trends.670 a month. The minimum allowable wage is reviewed annually." the spokesman added. to a fine of HK$200.Minimum wage for foreign domestic helpers remains unchanged ********************************************************* The Government announced today (January 31) to maintain the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers at the current level. that is.

I set up the Task Force on Population Policy in September last year to develop a population policy as pledged by the Chief Executive in his second Inaugural Speech in July last year. During that period.000 to 209. In 2001. identifying the major challenges and concerns arising from these demographic trends. setting an objective which the population policy seeks to achieve and proposing a set of policy measures to be adopted in the short to medium term to achieve this objective. these facts mean that the profile of Hong Kong's population. demographic trends indicate that one quarter of our population will be aged 65 or above by the year 2031. Its task was to develop a comprehensive population policy by the end of last year. I am most grateful to you in allowing me to release the Report of the Task Force on Population Policy at this Council's meeting today. Given the shortage of time. the total population is forecast to rise 30 per cent from 6. The Task Force comprises the Financial Secretary. This compares with approximately 75 among females and 67 among males in the early 1970s. Hong Kong women bore an average of just 0. the Task Force focused on analysing the demographic characteristics of Hong Kong's population.Statement by the Chief Secretary for Administration to the Legislative Council on the Report of the Task Force on Population Policy ********************************************************* Following is the statement (translation) by the Chief Secretary for Administration. We also have one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. is aging rapidly. Among them. Mr Donald Tsang. those older than 85 are expected to triple from the current 67. This is well below the "natural" replacement level.1 children per woman. Together.72 million in 2001 to 8. The most recent statistics show women living to 85 and men to 78 years.000.72 million but the labour force will grow by only . to the Legislative Council today (February 26) on the Report of the Task Force on Population Policy: Madam President. Demographic Characteristics Our people live longer and reproduce at a much lower rate than most communities.9 children over their lifetime. like other advanced economies. Indeed. eight Principal Officials and relevant Heads of Departments. usually regarded as 2.

All of us are alert to the need to ensure our emerging population profile can sustain our economic vitality in the long run.000 immigrants from the Mainland each year. Policy Objectives Madam President. .7 million. the entry of One Way Permit holders is one of the main sources of our population growth. and. We all cherish the goal to continually improve the quality and standard of living. For this reason. Apart from births. to ensure the long-term sustainability of our economic growth. promote social integration of new arrivals. our workforce will increasingly need to demonstrate higher skills as globalisation intensifies competition among developed economies in the shift towards high value-added and knowledge-based activities. We hope that this exercise will lead to a set of coherent and consistent measures being put in place to achieve the objective of the population policy. Many of the adult new arrivals when they first arrive have few work skills and little education. We are also committed to a programme of admitting almost 55. We believe the achievement of these goals will lead to a steady improvement of the standard of living of our people. or 58 per cent of the population. With these in mind and in the light of our demographic characteristics. will be economically inactive by 2031. Hong Kong faces a serious task to upgrade their skills to increase their competitiveness in the labour market and to meet the needs of our economy. Almost all Government policies directly or indirectly impact on our demography in varying degrees. In this context.8 per cent. though the education attainment profile of our local population is continuing to improve. We are also experiencing a growing population of migrant workers filling a diminishing number of unskilled jobs available. Our proposed population policy should strive to improve the overall quality of our population in fulfilment of our vision of Hong Kong as a knowledge-based economy and world-class city. This indicates that 5 million people. this Report covers a wide spectrum of public policies. foster the concept of active and healthy aging. we should also aim to redress population aging. most of all. They know the importance of Hong Kong's transformation to a knowledgebased economy for our future success. our people are hardworking and resilient.43 million to 3. Addressing Population Aging and Low Fertility The Task Force considered our extremely low fertility very carefully. Population is a very complex subject. the Task Force considers the primary objective of the population policy is to nurture a population that can sustain Hong Kong's long-term economic and social development. Meanwhile. from 3.

This will help to alleviate the distressing problem of split families that has become quite common. the total daily quota of 150 will remain unchanged. only 28 per cent of which was due to net natural increase. unless our fertility rate rebounds significantly. For the time being. Given its importance. and we have concluded that the present daily allocation of 60 within the 150 quota for children with right of abode in Hong Kong is appropriate. The One Way Permit Scheme is the single most important factor in our demographic growth and composition. The SAR Government has approached the Mainland authorities. Our population grew by 0. In addition. we reviewed this Scheme. regardless of number. parenthood is a very personal matter. we will encourage them to take out a Two Way Permit as soon as they have applied for a One Way Permit to allow them to become familiar with life in Hong Kong. The SAR Government will liaise closely with the . We have proposed that we should strictly enforce this daily allocation of 60 children and should not allow other categories of One Way Permit holders to make use of it. Academic studies show that there is little difference in the subsequent academic performance of children who come to Hong Kong by the age of nine. which at present is 30 per day. in the course of this exercise.7 per cent last year. The Task Force recommends that the Government should consider granting the same level of tax deduction for all a family's children. The Task Force came to the view that.literally. We should respect the decisions of individual couples. which administer the scheme. Hong Kong will be increasingly reliant on inward migration for our population growth. This will also help to have children arrive in Hong Kong as young as possible. We expect that this will reduce waiting time for spouses in Guangdong. This will help them to make an informed decision on whether to settle in Hong Kong while maintaining strong family connections. However. We respect the right of family reunion and the Right of Abode conferred by the Basic Law. we consider the current tax deduction for third and subsequent children is out of line with the need to increase our numbers. Some 72 per cent of growth was generated by the net inflow of people.We need to ensure new blood to rejuvenate our population . mostly coming under the One Way Permit Scheme. We have agreed with the Mainland Authorities that spouses in Guangdong will be allowed to continue to use un-utilised sub-quotas for long-separated families. Accordingly. As an improvement to the present arrangement. we have concluded that it is not appropriate for the Government to adopt special policies to promote childbirth. they will be provided with the added flexibility of choosing to settle in Hong Kong together with their Mainland parents and meanwhile retaining their residence status in the Mainland. Yet.

But we must also accept that the more a society spends proportionally on the healthcare of its elderly. The Health. Notwithstanding the challenges presented by a growing population. First. education and acquisition of productive power of our entire younger generation. The main changes to the One Way Permit Scheme I have just described will be put into force subject to agreement and legislation by the Central People's Government. to upgrade the general level of education for all. not as individuals needing help. Indeed. but as people having much to offer and wanting to give. We do need to attend to the quality of our population. This should form the essence of our policy for the elderly. We shall continue to provide education. we believe that we need to revisit and redefine the notion of retirement and old age. quantity alone will not resolve the problem. as in the case of skilled immigrants. and second to promote and facilitate skills upgrading and life- . It is essential for us to look far ahead to find feasible and practical ways to develop a sustainable financial support system for the needy elderly. aging represents first and foremost a success story for our public health policies as well as social and economic development. As most of the new immigrants are admitted for family reunion. we cannot. the simple population numbers do not constitute a crisis. training and skills upgrading programmes to new arrivals of different age groups. We shall continue to admit new arrivals to reduce population aging and labour force shrinkage. We need to promote a new awareness of elderly people. exclude those without high education or skills. They have contributed to the upbringing. Welfare and Food Bureau is now undertaking this task. Neither the younger generation nor the Government should shy away from shouldering the costs of taking care of our elderly population. If there is evidence that the demand falls.Mainland authorities with regard to the numbers and the allocation among the categories. However. the less can be devoted to productive investment or to the society's younger and more productive members. upgrading our skill levels to meet the requirements of economic restructuring. We are taking two main approaches to meet the manpower needs of our economy. To promote positive aging. Fostering Positive Aging The size of our workforce will shrink as the prime working age population declines. we will discuss with the Mainland authorities to reduce the quota. Quality Improvement In the immediate future. investment in education is one of the Chief Executive's major priorities. I also urge all people to view aging in a proper perspective. Steps must be taken to reduce dependency of the elderly and raise the productivity of old people.

long education among the existing workforce. We think that this will help to create a multi-lingual and multi-cultural environment at our tertiary institutions. We recommend that the threshold should be set at HK$6. The present restrictions on specific business sectors and admission of dependent family members will be lifted. as part of building a multi-faceted. Hong Kong has to attract the best and brightest from all over the world. Because of foreign exchange controls. we will adopt a strategic and coordinated approach to manpower planning and development to meet the changing demands of our economy.5 million. world-class city. we propose to encourage them to make greater use of the current multiple visit . Indeed. in order that Hong Kong may emerge successfully from this challenging process of economic restructuring. Furthermore. Madam President. Apart from business talent. the quest for talent and skills becomes a primary factor in determining economic success of developed economies around the globe. This relates to people who have the financial means to make a substantial investment in Hong Kong but who do not wish to run a business. Qualifying asset classes will include real estate and specified financial assets. which we intend to implement in July 2003. the populous and fast-developing Mainland of our nation. of course. we cannot rely solely on the pool of home grown talent to raise the overall quality of our human capital. apply to Mainland residents. at this stage. These measures. We will relax admission of Mainland professionals and talent to live and work in Hong Kong. the new policy will not. we should also step up efforts to encourage these young people to return to live and work in Hong Kong. We propose to allow foreign investors to settle here with effect from the second half of this year. We will relax our current policy to attract investment immigrants to enhance our economic strength. will allow Hong Kong to enlarge the pool of talent needed to meet the requirements of a knowledge-based economy and enhance the competitiveness of our demographic structure. This will also further the essential process of building a critical mass of knowledge and skills that will fortify Hong Kong's status as a world city. With the establishment of the Manpower Development Committee. as more and more children of Hong Kong families are educated overseas. such as the arts and sports. We will also take active measures to attract more Mainland businessmen to set up business in Hong Kong. Prospective applicants will be allowed a reasonable flexibility in their choice of investments. The new policy will apply to foreign nationals. The Education and Manpower Bureau will implement a series of measures in September this year to attract more overseas students to pursue their tertiary and postgraduate education in Hong Kong. This includes. Macau SAR residents and residents of Taiwan. we will also attract Mainland talent from more diversified fields. For Mainland businessmen.

should contribute towards the training and retraining programmes. . Since the enactment of the Employees Retraining Ordinance in 1992. i. We believe that these new measures will help generate greater economic activity and in turn more employment opportunities in the SAR. Employers under the Supplementary Labour Scheme will enjoy the same flexibility. we will allow an option for the levy to be paid by four instalments. The levy will be imposed under the Employees Retraining Ordinance. 2003. the levy will be paid upfront by the employer and will apply to new contracts and renewal of contracts. They make use of a wide range of local facilities and services. This may not be readily available from local domestic helpers and we recognise that there are two distinct markets for foreign and local domestic helpers. It consists of imported low-skilled workers who are allowed to stay in Hong Kong so long as they remain employed. It is a well-established principle that employers turning to imported workers. The first instalment should be paid before the granting of a visa to the foreign domestic helper. only employers under the Supplementary Labour Scheme are required to pay a levy. we have to include a review of our foreign domestic helper policy as part of our exercise. According to existing arrangements under the Supplementary Labour Scheme. To provide flexibility to employers. Hong Kong has a significant transient population. We recommend that the same levy.permit system in coming to Hong Kong to look for investment opportunities. rather than local employees. Integration and Long-term Sustainability Madam President. The Task Force recognises the contribution by foreign domestic helpers in providing help to families who require full-time live-in domestic helpers. should also apply in the employment of foreign domestic helpers. A much smaller number is mainly admitted under the Supplementary Labour Scheme. $2. At present. The Task Force considers that several improvements should be made to enhance the integrity of the mechanism of admitting foreign domestic helpers with the aim of minimising abuse and displacement of local jobs by foreign domestic helpers. currently $400 a month.000. most of them employed as domestic helpers. They currently number almost 240. This will take effect from October 1.e. Despite the economic downturn in the past few years. there is no indication that the admission of foreign domestic helpers has slowed down.400 each. Because of their considerable and growing number. employers importing workers other than foreign domestic helpers have been paying a levy. We will consider amending our immigration law to allow visitors to engage in a wider range of business-related activities in Hong Kong.

The Task Force considers that in developing the population policy. we believe that employers of foreign domestic helpers. others such as public health services do not. Madam President. Given all these considerations. migrant workers and visitors including Two-Way Permit holders. there will be no refund of the levy paid. Some of the subsidised services such as public rental housing and social security benefits currently require applicants to meet a certain length of residence in Hong Kong. there is an urgent need to upgrade the skill levels and to provide for the life-long education of our workforce. the opportunity should be taken to address this anomaly. As I have said. but also to the transient population such as foreign domestic helpers. particularly in the light of population aging and continuing influx of new immigrants. We have focused our attention initially on the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme (CSSA) and public health services which together took up 22 per cent of total public recurrent expenditure in 2001/02. Public health services are available not only to permanent and non-permanent Hong Kong residents. We consider that there is a strong case for applying a uniform sevenyear residence rule for providing all heavily subsidised social services . Given the increased demand for resources in this regard. Along with the significant downward adjustment in various local economic indicators since the last adjustment to the minimum allowable age for foreign domestic helpers in 1999. undertaking non-domestic work or moonlighting. Many public services in Hong Kong are heavily subsidised and various sectors in the community have expressed the view that the Government needs to take urgent steps to address rising public spending on social and other services. should contribute towards the training and retraining of the local workforce. such as underpayment. there is a strong case for expanding the source of levy income. We hope that these actions will help to prevent exploitation of migrant workers and promote employment opportunities for local domestic helpers. like employers of other imported workers. it has become clear that Hong Kong faces a severe fiscal situation and is running a sizeable deficit. high employment and restructuring of our economy. but the Director of Immigration will take into account the relevant balance if a fresh application for an imported employee is submitted by the employer within four months. the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers will be reduced by $400 per month for employment contracts signed on or after April 1 this year.The Employees Retraining Ordinance also stipulates that if an imported employee fails to arrive in Hong Kong having been granted a visa or having arrived but fails to complete the contract of employment. against the backdrop of economic downturn. The Labour Department and Immigration Department will step up enforcement actions against abuse of foreign domestic helpers.

We also encourage the community to take a positive attitude towards the new immigrants. we encourage new arrivals to be self-reliant. Eligibility based on a seven-year residence reflects a resident's contribution towards our economy over a sustained period. There are market forces in action and we have to respect the choices individuals make. open and cosmopolitan society. Madam President. the Director of Social Welfare will have discretionary power to grant the allowance for exceptional cases on compassionate grounds. We will initially apply it to Two Way Permit holders and visitors. This measure will take effect from a date to be decided. We believe that our continuous efforts to promote retraining and skill upgrading will enhance their skills level and integration of the new immigrants with the rest of the community. Hong Kong is a free. I have come to realise that many factors affecting the demographic conditions in Hong Kong are beyond the control of the Government. We will continue to open wide our doors to immigrants who treasure the free. For CSSA. enterprising. . All current residents will not be affected. In approaching this complex issue. This will take effect from April 1 this year. Young children will be exempted and the measure will apply only to those aged 18 and above. At the same time. We also accept the issues involved will inevitably change. some of whom have already achieved remarkable results in their academic and business pursuits in Hong Kong. the Task Force sought to analyse the main social and economic challenges that our demographic trends readily present to us and have explored a set of practical measures to be taken in the short and medium term to address these challenges. Having worked on this subject. We have noted the practices in other places regarding eligibility for public benefits. in principle. innovative society that Hong Kong offers and who are ready to capitalise on the bountiful opportunities that we provide. the Health. Welfare and Food Bureau will need to conduct an in-depth study to assess the impact before considering when and how this will be applied to them in the longer term. the same residence requirement should apply to users of subsidised hospital and public health benefits. we have to strike a very fine balance between the interests of different sectors and pay due regard to our long-term fiscal balance. I would like to stress that these measures are to ensure resources are allocated on a rational basis for the provision of benefits to Hong Kong people. For the rest of the affected population.and public health and hospital benefits. The Need for Regular Review Within the six months it was given to work. We further propose that.

we may not have sufficient time today to go into details of each and every aspect of the proposed population policy. This will carry far-reaching consequences on demographic developments in Hong Kong as more and more people move across the Hong Kong and Pearl River Delta boundary in both directions. to follow up on the longer-term issues and to review the implementation of the various policy measures regularly. The publication of this Report denotes not the end but rather the beginning of a mammoth task. 2003 NNNN Floor/ English/ Cantonese .Above all. Relevant Bureaux are also prepared to brief their respective Panels on individual policy measures as appropriate. Hong Kong is integrating more and more closely with the Pearl River Delta. The continuing review of our population policy is therefore essential. February 26. The Task Force recommends that there should be dedicated resources in the Government to continue to oversee the population policy. I would be more than happy to discuss the subject at my meeting with the House Committee on Friday. If Members so wish. Madam President. I appeal to Members of this Council and the community to support this important exercise. End/Wednesday. which carries long-term consequences for us and for generations to come.

Any employer who pays less than the stated minimum allowable wage in the existing contract commits an offence under the Employment Ordinance and the employer is liable. on conviction. price change and labour market situation. to a fine of $200.Minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers remains unchanged ******************************************************************* The Government announced today (May 10) that the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong would be maintained at the current level of $3. 2004 NNNN .000 and one year's imprisonment.270 per month. The minimum allowable wage for FDHs is reviewed regularly in the light of the general economic and employment situation of Hong Kong as reflected through a basket of economic indicators which includes the relevant income movement. May 10. Employers are free to pay more than the minimum allowable wage. Ends/Monday.

the minimum allowable wage (MAW) for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong would be increased by $50 (or 1. The new MAW will apply to employment contracts signed on or after May 19 this year. Ends/Wednesday. Any employer who pays less than the wages as stated in the existing employment contract commits an offence under the Employment Ordinance and the employer is liable. 2005 NNNN . price change and labour market situation.320 per month.000 and one year's imprisonment. with effect from tomorrow (May 19). on conviction.5%) from $3. Employment contracts signed on or before May 18 this year at a salary level not lower than the prevailing MAW of $3. to a fine of $200. Employers are free to pay more than the MAW to their FDHs.270 to $3.270 per month then will be processed by the Immigration Department. May 18.Adjustment of minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers ************************************************* The Government announced today (May 18) that. The MAW for FDHs is reviewed regularly in the light of Hong Kong's general economic and employment situation as reflected through a basket of economic indicators which includes the relevant income movement. provided the application reaches the department on or before June 15 this year.

with effect from tomorrow (May 31). Ends/Tuesday. 2006 Issued at HKT 16:31 NNNN . Employers are free to pay more than the minimum wage to their helpers. The minimum wage for foreign domestic helpers is reviewed regularly in the light of Hong Kong's general economic and employment situation as reflected through a basket of economic indicators which include the relevant income movement.400 per month. the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong would be increased by $80 from $3.320 per month will still be processed by the Immigration Department. price change and labour market situation. The new minimum allowable wage will apply to employment contracts signed on or after May 31. this year. May 30.000 and three years' imprisonment. This is to allow time for employers whose contracts are signed on or before May 30 to complete the necessary procedure before submitting their applications to the department. Any employer who pays less than the wage as stated in the existing employment contract commits an offence under the Employment Ordinance and is liable. on conviction. Employment contracts signed on or before May 30 this year at a wage level not lower than the prevailing minimum wage of $3.Adjustment of minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers ********************************************************** The Government announced today (May 30) that.320 to $3. provided that the applications reach the department on or before June 27 this year. to a maximum fine of $350.

The new minimum allowable wage will apply to employment contracts signed on or after June 6 this year.400 per month will still be processed by the Immigration Department. Employment contracts signed on or before June 5 this year at a wage level not lower than the prevailing minimum wage of $3. This is to allow time for employers whose contracts are signed on or before June 5 to complete the necessary procedure before submitting their applications to the department. 2007 Issued at HKT 16:30 NNNN . June 5.400 to $3. Any employer who pays less than the wage as stated in the existing employment contract commits an offence under the Employment Ordinance and is liable. Employers are free to pay more than the minimum wage to their helpers.480 per month. to a maximum fine of $350. price change and labour market situation. provided that the applications reach the department on or before July 3 this year. The minimum wage for foreign domestic helpers is reviewed regularly in the light of Hong Kong's general economic and employment situation as reflected through a basket of economic indicators which include the relevant income movement. with effect from tomorrow (June 6).000 and three years' imprisonment. Ends/Tuesday.Adjustment of minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers ********************************************************** The Government today (June 5) announced that the minimum allowable wage for foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong would be increased by $80 from $3. on conviction.

The MAW for FDHs is reviewed regularly in the light of Hong Kong's general economic and employment situation. 2008. Ends/Wednesday. This is to allow time for employers whose contracts were signed on or before July 9 to complete the necessary procedures before submitting their applications to ImmD. price change and labour market situation. provided that the applications would have reached ImmD on or before August 6. upon conviction.480 to $3. to a maximum fine of $350.000 and three years' imprisonment. 2008. The new minimum allowable wage is applicable to employment contracts signed on or after July 10. as reflected through a basket of economic indicators including the relevant income movement. Any employer who pays less than the wage as stated in the employment contract commits an offence under the Employment Ordinance and is liable. July 9. Employers are free to pay more than the MAW to their FDHs.480 per month will still be processed by the Immigration Department (ImmD) on such wage terms. Employment contracts signed on or before July 9 at a wage level not lower than the prevailing MAW of $3.Minimum wage increased for foreign domestic helpers *************************************************** The Government announced today (July 9) that with effect from tomorrow (July 10) the minimum allowable wage (MAW) for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong would be increased by $100 from $3. 2008 Issued at HKT 16:30 NNNN .580 per month.

Employers are free to pay their FDHs more than the MAW and minimum food allowance. as reflected through a basket of economic indicators including the relevant income movement. price change and labour market situation. The new level will apply to all contracts signed on or after tomorrow (September 3). 2009 Issued at HKT 16:30 NNNN ." Contracts signed today or before with the existing food allowance of not less than $300 will still be processed by the Immigration Department (ImmD) provided that the applications reach ImmD on or before September 30." The Government has also reviewed the food allowance in lieu of free food this year and decided to raise it to the new level after taking account of the movement in the relevant consumer price indices. but may choose to pay a food allowance in lieu of free food to FDHs. In fact. "The Government regularly reviews the MAW for FDHs and has decided to freeze the MAW level this year. the food allowance in lieu of free food for FDHs will be increased from not less than $300 per month to not less than $740 per month.580 per month. "Under the Standard Employment Contract for hiring FDHs. A Government spokesman said. September 2. 2009. "This arrangement should allow sufficient time for employers to send the signed contracts to ImmD for completion of the necessary application procedures. The review takes account of Hong Kong's general economic and employment situation. the vast majority of employers at present provide food free of charge to FDHs. In addition. employers are required to provide FDHs with food free of charge.Minimum Allowable Wage and food allowance for foreign domestic helpers ****************************************************** The Government announced today (September 2) that the Minimum Allowable Wage (MAW) for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong would remain at $3." "The option to allow employers to pay food allowance in lieu of free food serves merely to give them the flexibility to cater for special circumstances. Ends/Wednesday." he said.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful